Country singer JoDee Messina spent as much time at the plate singing God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch as the Detroit Tigers did in most of their at bats in Game 3.
Cardinal ace Chris Carpenter gave up only three hits while striking out six without a walk over eight innings in a dominant performance to give St. Louis a 2-1 Series advantage over Nate Robertson and the Tigers.
Braden Looper threw a perfect 9th to seal the win for the Redbirds after skipper Tony LaRussa decided not to send Carpenter back to the hill after a 20-minute rest on a chilly night at Busch Stadium.
Jim Edmonds supplied all the runs the St. Louis starter needed with a 2 run double in the 4th inning, plating Scott Rolen and Albert Pujols. The Cards missed an opportunity for a big inning thanks in part to clutch pitching by Tiger starter Nate Robertson, who stopped the bleeding by getting out of a bases loaded jam.
Detroit reliever Joel Zumaya’s costly error in the 7th allowed the Cards to add two more to their tally. Zumaya took third baseman Brandon Inge by surprise on an Albert Pujols tapper back to the mound by throwing to third instead of going for the expected play at second base. What should have been an easy double play for the Tigers ended with the ball flying wildly into left field as David Eckstein and Preston Wilson scored and Pujols jogged into second base. Zumaya gave way to Jason Grilli, who got the Tigers back into the dugout without further damage.
St. Louis added an insurance run in the 8th when So Taguchi walked, was moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by the versatile Carpenter, over to third on a sharp single to right by David Eckstein, and came in to score on a Zach Miner wild pitch to make the final score 5-0.
The Cardinals look to put Detroit’s backs against the wall tomorrow when they send NLCS MVP Jeff Suppan, 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA in three postseason starts, to square off against Jeremy Bonderman, 1-0 in 2 playoff starts.